For private forests:(Was: Re: Sustainable indigenous forestry in N Z)

Brian Sandle bsandle at
Tue Feb 15 19:53:57 EST 2000

Brian Swale <bj at> wrote:
: A lot of the discusson on this topic misses the point on what is happening
: in New Zealand with regards to sustainable forestry in the beech forests of the
:  South Island. West Coast.

: It has absolutely nothing to do with agroforestry in New Zealand. Agroforestry is 
: regarded in New Zealand as the use of valuable tree crops in (usually high value)
: pastoral farning enterprises such as outdoor beef, dairying or sheep. The tree 
: species may be Pinus radiata, very carefully tended, or species of eucalypt, walnut
: oak, ash,  robinia, acacia or what  have you also very carefully tended.

: Timberlands West Coast, an artificial construct of the 1897 Laboiur Government 
: which did away with the highly productive New Zealand Forest Service.and sold 
: the forests to mailnly overseas companies, is a government-owned company with 
: just two shareholders, both Ministers in the Cabinet. It was set up to manage and 
: use indigenous forest. 

: In November 1999 the newly elected  Labour  minority government, using fallacious 
: argument promulgated by protectionist groups such as the Royal Forest and Bird Society,  
: obtained a lot of vital "green" vote from the dense urban electorates in the far northern 
: metropolis of Auckland.  Without this green vote they would not have got into power.

: A major plank of their election campaign, as far as the Auckland/Coromandel green
: vote was concerned, was that Labour would put an immediate stop to the process that 
: was just getting under way in a statutory Land Use Planning Court, that Timberlands 
: West Coast had begun in order to be able to lawfully commence managing some of their
: Nothofagus beech forest sustainably for high value timber using helicopter log extraction. 
: The planned rate of timber extraction was just 50% of the natural rate of mortality, and they 
: intended to harvest mainly moribund trees.

: They planned to go to extraordinary effort to ensure the continued existence of threatened
: wildlife, mainly birds and bats, but including some plants including mistletoes.

: The new Labour Prime Minister, Helen Clark, is well known from the 1980's as having a 
: grest dislike and mistrust of forestry professionals and their association with indigenous 
: forests.

: The people who are campaigning for the resumption of the Land Use Planning Court hearings
: consider that the future of professional, ethical, forestry indigenous forests in NZ is at stake.

: The proposals of Timberlands for the management of their Nothofagus beech forest are a
: ground-breaking worls-wide example of what might be achieved for the productive conservation 
: of natural forest.

: Part of the argument is the beech growth models available from Landcare Research, a Crown
: Research Institiute, which have been used as evidence against the management proposals by 
: government ministers and others.. Many people find, and refereed papers are about to appear 
: which will argue, that these models are severely flawed.

: They may be downloaded from (version 2)
: and (version 1)

: An online history and ongoing commentary may be found at 


: keep an eye on this one as we are adding material all the time

: and the Timberlands site is well worth looking at; try 


: (also use the left-hand menu)

: and

: Don't hesitate to look at these, because it is quite on the cards that government pressure may see
: these pages taken down in the foreseeable future. 

: Brian Swale

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